Archive for September, 2011

Throwing a Digital-Age Curveball

September 30, 2011

The New York Times, Friday September 23, 2011


Throwing a Curveball For the Digital Age, by Maohla Dargis

Moneyball is a  movie about the game of baseball as it changes in the digital age.  Brad Pitt plays Billy Beame, the Oakland Athletics manager who with the help of a computer whiz “trades old knowledge for new”, thereby transforming the team from one of the “poorest in baseball into a winning team in serious competition with the wealthiest franchises.”   The computer statistics changed the way everyone looked at baseball and recruited new players.

A curveball is explained in a prior blog.  In this case, the ball (computerized stats) thrown changed the game.  The headings are brilliant pulling the reader into this film review about a widely praised movie.

Upping the Ante

September 29, 2011

New York Times, Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SPORTS TUESDAY: Upping the Ante, by Jere Longman


$330 million:  The price paid by a member of the royal family of the emirate Aba Dhabi for Manchester City in 2008.

“Manchester City’s wealthy owners have spent their way to the top of European soccer (football), but new financial rules could level the playing field.”

According to the article, UEFA, the governing body of European soccer has “grown concerned about perceived attempts by deep-pocketed owners to buy trophies and alarmed about inflationary spending on salaries and transfer fees, paid when a player is sold from one team to another,”  all this in a time of “continental economic crisis which hampers many teams…”, as well as “cumulative losses in European soccer which surpassed $3.5 billion in 2009 alone, according to news reports.”

In other words, the field seems tilted a bit to great wealth and UEFA would like to level the playing field, with new initiatives such as one called “Financial Fair Play,” in order “to rein in run away deficit spending and foster long-term stability.”

The first idiom in the headline, upping the ante, is derived from a gambling and poker term.  The ante is usually money, but could be chips or teams paid for with money as in this case.  The teams are betting against each other and the UEFA hopes to level the field by reining in some aspects of the antes.   A rider reins in a horse when he or she wants it to slow down.   (Please see http://www.sports idioms” for more explanation and sentences using these terms in the sports sense and in the derived idiomatic sense.)

Judge Throws Curve in Mets Case

September 29, 2011


Is President Obama Punting on Entitlement Reform?

September 20, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 20, 2011

“Obama Ties Benefit Cuts to New Taxes”, by Carol E. Lee and Naftali Bendavid

“President Barack Obama threatened Monday to veto any bill that cuts Medicare benefits without increasing taxes on corporations or the wealthy,…

Republican leaders said that Mr. Obama’s inclusion of $1.5 trillion in tax increases in his deficit reduction plan was a bad idea both politically and economically.  ‘Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth or even meaningful deficit reduction,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).”

…”punting on entitlement reform…”   uses a metaphor from football.  When one punts one kicks the ball down the field to the opposing team, in this case from the President to Congress and the Republican Party.  However, one could say deficit reform, tax reform, entitlement changes are being kicked down the field.

Go to and click on “football”  and/or “punt”.

Knock Out Artists

September 16, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, September 10-11, 2011

SPORTS : Saturdays, Semis/ Old Age and aggression meets youth and patience, by Tom Perrota and Carl Bialik

The semifinals of the U.S. Open were held last Saturday, September 10th, between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the men’s side and Caroline Woznilacki and Serena Williams on the women’s.  The oldsters were Federer and Williams vs. the youngsters Woznilacki and Djokovic.

The “knockout” artists were the oldsters, because “they win games with perfectly places serves and quick-follow strikes.”  Both Djokovic and Williams won their games and advanced to the finals.

Knockout usually refers to a boxing match not tennis, but is appropriate here because of the respective tennis players approach to games:  Knock then out of the game and go on to the next.  In a boxing match, if a boxer is “knocked out” by his opponent, and goes down for the count of 10, the match is over.

Not a Level Playing Field for U.S. Business?

September 7, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MANAGING CAREERS: Boss Talk, by James R. Hagerty:  “Obama’s Aussie’ Touts Vision for Dow Chemical and the U.S.”

“Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris…is crusading for more effective U.S. economic policies.”

Mr. Liveris has just published a book in 2011 called Made It in America,” prescribing policies to boost high-tech manufacturing, including free-trade agreements and simpler regulation.”

Mr. Liveris quotes the following to Mr. Hagerty, the author of the article:  “All I do is point out that it’s not a level playing field, that other countries offer these subsidies and tax incentives and are attracting investment…  We do subsidize  defense, we do subsidize parts of agriculture.  So why are we afraid of the conversation when it comes to manufacturing?”

Another playing field, this one not a level playing field for the U.S.